For Vaughn Wyant, it comes down to trying to make the community better than when he found it.
And after a business life spent trying to live up to that ideal, the Saskatoon dealer was honoured by Ford Motor Co. for his efforts when he was one of just six dealers worldwide to be given a Ford’s Salute to Dealers award.
“I am grateful and humbled by this extraordinary recognition for a number of reasons,” he said of the award.
“To be chosen from 12,000 Ford dealers worldwide, and stand shoulder to shoulder with the other five great honourees is simply overwhelming.”
Wyant is the principal of the Wyant Group, which owns 14 stores throughout Saskatchewan and B.C. His network includes two Ford points – Lakeland Ford and Jubilee Ford – with the latter being the first store he purchased back in 1983.
Ford’s Salute to Dealers award was started in 2001 as a way for the automaker to demonstrate its commitment to its thousands of dealer owners who step beyond their showroom doors to make a difference. The 17th annual awards were handed out during the 2017 National Automobile Dealers’ Association Convention and Expo in New Orleans.
Ford said Edsel B. Ford II and four other judges selected six winners from a total global field of nearly 80 nominees from the roughly 12,000 Ford stores around the world.
Wyant said Ford dealers have always taken on a great responsibility to support and grow their respective communities.
“They are deemed leaders and stalwarts, ensuring that their actions leave their communities better than when they began. Of course, it also takes wonderful and committed employees and indeed families to help carry the Ford flag to even greater distinction through their collective efforts. I personally wish to thank everyone for this honour,” he said.
The list of his charitable work is long and varied. He led a hands-on effort, with fellow dealers and local businesses, to create and auction a custom-designed Ford at Barrett-Jackson that raised $450,000 US for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.
For more than 25 years, Wyant and his dealership group has been the lead sponsor of the Black Tie Bingo for Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation, which has raised over $2 million for critical services and equipment in health care.
Wyant also donated $1 million toward the construction of Remai Modern Art Gallery and gave $500,000 to the University of Saskatchewan to help build a new sports and recreation facility for community use.
“In his family life and beyond, by lending a hand with manual labour or investing his time and resources for a charitable cause, Wyant constantly looks for ways to be involved and make a difference,” Ford said in a release.
A painted portrait of each honouree features a montage of the philanthropic and volunteer activities that led to the award. Duplicates of the portraits will join a Salute to Dealers display in the lobby of Ford World headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.
The five other winners were Ken Crowley of Crowley Ford Lincoln in Plainville, Conn.; Natalie Tindol of Tindol Ford in Gastonia, N.C.; Alan Jay Wildstein of Alan Jay Ford Lincoln in Sebring, Fla.; Paul Brown of John Andrew Ford in Auckland, New Zealand; and Turgay Mersin of Sadıkoşlu in Uşak, Turkey.